Choosing Quality

Find advice on how to choose quality childcare here. Check the Gold Seal Quality Care Program and view Polk County’s Gold Seal Providers list.

Gold Seal Quality Care Program

Child care facilities, large family child care homes, or family day care homes that are accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting association whose standards substantially meet or exceed the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the National Association of Family Child Care, and the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation Commission shall receive a separate “Gold Seal Quality Care” designation to operate as a gold seal child care facility, large family child care home, or family day care home.

Choosing Quality Childcare in Five Steps



Visit several different child care programs before you decide which one is best for your family. Visit the child care program more than once, at different times of the day. Stays as long as possible so you can get a good feel for what the care will be like for your child. After you start using the child care, continue to visit from time to time.

Does the child care program look safe?

Are the children supervised at all times, even while they are sleeping?

Do all caregivers and children wash their hands often, especially before and after eating and after using the bathroom or changing diapers?

Are toxic substances like cleaning supplies and pest killers kept away from children?



  • What does the child care setting sound like?
  • Do the children sound happy and involved?
  • Do the teachers seem cheerful and patient?



Count the number of children to adults and the number of children they will be supervising. Be certain there are enough adults to supervise all of the different activities that are planned. Remember, the fewer the number of children for each adult, the more attention your child will get.


State Adult to Child Ratios for Child Care Centers

Birth – 12 months (1:4)

12-24 months (1:6)

2-year-olds (1:11)

3-year-olds (1:15)

4/5-year-olds (1:20)

School-age children (1:25)



Ask about the training and experience of all adults will be with your children. Find out about any special training staff has received and whether the program is accredited.

Do the adults have first aid and CPR training?

Are their discipline policies compatible with your philosophy?

Are children able to choose among activities?

What do the adults know about child development?

Have all caregivers gone through a background check?

Be Informed:


Find out more about efforts in your community to improve the quality of child care.

For more information on choosing a safe and healthy child care setting, please visit the following links:

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